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Sometimes It Is Lupus: Health Writer’s Month: Random Phrase.

    Today’s Health Activist Writer’s Month Challenge Prompt is:

    Open a Book. Choose a book and open it to a random page and point to a phrase. Use that phrase to get you writing today. Free write for 15-20 without stopping.

    So, firstly, let’s choose a book. The one I was reading while waiting to see the doctor this morning was:

    Hunter, Dr David. Living With Arthritis: the Complete Self-care Guide. Sydney: ABC Books, 2006.  (Amazon doesn’t have it listed, so I can’t give you a link.)

    Let’s grab a sentence from page 127, on exercise. Regular, moderate exercise offers a whole host of benefits to people with arthritis, the most important being that it replenishes lubrication to the cartilage of the joints and can reduce stiffness, pain and swelling; it builds strong muscles around the joints and increases flexibility and endurance; and it can decrease bone loss.

    All good stuff.  I have a love-hate relationship with exercise. I hate it when I’m not allowed to do the exercise that I used to love.

    I loved martial arts – I did judo as a kid and taekwondo as an adult.  Both of these are excellent forms of exercise – they work on stamina, strength and flexibility – all the areas exercise is supposed to cover. They also require a body that actually works properly. You just can’t play a contact sport when you have lupus (well, at least it’s not advisable to do so.)

     What comes immediately to mind is using my entire strength to kick a kick pad, at chest height, over and over and over again, why the coach yelled: “Come on Iris! Crunch it out! This is for the nationals!” I’d be flat out doing a round kick at knee height now. I’d be flat out doing a front kick (which doesn’t require anywhere near as much hip flexibility) at knee height.

    From taekwondo, I went to the more ladylike Curves. I loved the Curves workout. It’s circuit training, but with their Curves Smart program, everyone carries a little smart card to plug into each machine as they come to it.  The computer knows everyone’s individual capability and keeps everyone working at their own set level.  It was a combination of resistance and cardio workout, with a stretching program to cool down. Again, an all-round exercise program, and this one was tailor-made for the individual.

    Then came the fateful day when my specialist said I had to reduce the amount of steroid I was taking.  “But, but, but,” I stammered, “what about my exercise?”

    That’s when I got my lecture about how much I was doing. That whole “use it or lose it” thing works for most people.  With lupus, there’s a big risk that if you over-use it you lose it, so my rheumatologist told me. (Of course, he may have just made that up to be mean because he knew how much I loved Curves!)

    Didn’t I need exercise?  He recommended I do hydrotherapy instead.

     Health Activist Writer’s Month Challenge

    So now, I’ve started my new exercise program.  I’ve been to the physiotherapist, and have a tailor-made individual work-out plan. And I drive to a heated pool to get in and walk backwards and forwards and side to side. Move my arms and legs in the water, and generally have a play around.  It all seems so simple, except that with my steroids down to such a low dose, it’s as hard as a workout at Curves used to be when I was on the higher dose of steroids, or taekwondo training was when I was healthy.